Broyles Award nomination for Scott Symons
The Liberty defense has made incredible improvement since Scott Symons was hired to be the Defensive Coordinator. The year before Scott arrived, Liberty’s defense was ranked 123rd in total defense allowing 36 points per game. Scott came to us with a proven track record of rebuilding and turning defenses around. During his tenure at Liberty, that track record continued. He has transformed the defense into one of the top performing units in the country. We saw immediate improvement in the 2019 season, helping Liberty to an 8-5 season including a first ever bowl game. This trend accelerated during the 2020 season and shows up in virtually every defensive statistical category. Currently, the Liberty defense is ranked No. 9 in the nation in total defense, No. 18 in red zone defense, and No. 18 in scoring defense.
These are truly amazing accomplishments, especially considering how far Scott has brought Liberty’s defense in such a short time. His leadership on the defensive side of the ball is a key factor in Liberty’s 9-1 record this season, including a 2-1 record vs ACC teams.
For these reasons and his ability to recruit and establish strong relationships, it is my honor to nominate Scott Symons for the 2020 Broyles Award. — Head Coach Hugh Freeze
Scott Symons: 2019 Year in Review (first year at Liberty University)
• Symons’ defensive schemes played a vital role in Liberty finishing
its first full season at the FBS level with an 8-5 record, including a win
over Georgia Southern in the 2019 FBC Mortgage Cure Bowl.
• With the Cure Bowl victory, Liberty became the third team in NCAA
history to win a bowl game during its first full
season at the FBS level.
• Symons helped mold four Liberty defensive players that signed NFL
free agents contracts after the 2020 NFL Draft: linebacker Solomon
Ajayi, safety Elijah Benton, defensive lineman Jessie Lemonier and
cornerback Bejour Wilson.
• Along with wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden, who was a fourthround pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and Symons’ four free agent
signees, Liberty had five players sign with NFL franchises, the most
in program history.
• Lemonier finished his two-year career at Liberty with 20.5 sacks,
which ranked third among FBS players nationally in total sacks
recorded during the 2018 and 2019 campaigns.
• Benton, a former walk-on at Liberty, finished his four-year career
with the Flames as the team’s active leader with 205 career tackles,
including 123 career solo stops.
• The Flames finished the season ranked No. 28 in the country in
sacks (2.69 per game) and No. 31 in interceptions (12).
2020 Record: 9-1
Second full year at the FBS level, Liberty has been ranked in the top
25 rankings four out of the last five weeks (first time in school history).
Liberty has posted a pair of wins over P5 programs in 2020
(Syracuse and Virginia Tech).
Liberty’s lone loss of the season was a 15-14 setback at NC State
where Liberty had a potential game-winning field goal blocked during
the final minutes of the game.
Liberty was a perfect 6-0 at home this season and finished the year
with a 45-0 shutout win over UMass, the program’s first shutout
victory since 2016.
Third-Down Conversion Defense
– Liberty ranks No. 16 (32.3 percent)
Fourth-Down Conversion Defense
– Liberty ranks No. 28 (42.1 percent)
– Liberty ranks No. 23 (5)
– Liberty ranks No. 15 (10)
Passing Yards Allowed
– Liberty ranks No. 7 (171.6 per game)
Red Zone Defense
– Liberty ranks No. 18 (74.1 percent)
– Liberty ranks No. 34 (129.6 yards allowed per game)
– Liberty ranks No. 18 (19.2 points allowed per game)
Team Passing Efficiency Defense
– Liberty ranks No. 22 (117.20)
– Liberty ranks No. 9 (301.2 yards allowed per game)
– Liberty ranks No. 18 (16)